Perrysburg played much of the regular season with top scorer Chris Wagner on the sideline nursing a knee injury.
It's a good thing Wagner was in the starting lineup for the Yellow Jackets against Northview last night in the Division I district soccer championship.
Wagner produced a hat trick to lead Perrysburg to a 4-3 overtime victory at Perrysburg's Steinecker Stadium.
Playing with a bulky brace covering most of his left leg, Wagner didn't appear to be slowed by the injury he suffered while playing Northview in the second game of the season.
He helped the Yellow Jackets claim a third straight district title when he came through with a header 2:41 into the first 10-minute overtime period. It proved to be the game-clinching goal as Perrysburg sophomore goalie Casey Latchem kept the Wildcats (14-2-3) from scoring after halftime.
“It (my knee) still goes out every now and then, but today it felt just the way I like it,” Wagner said. “It's just a great day.”
The Yellow Jackets (16-1-3) move on to a regional semifinal against Berea Tuesday in Ashland.
“This really means a lot to us because it's our third district championship in a row,” Perrysburg coach Pete Raffa said. “This was the way we thought this game would be. We thought this would be a war.”
Perrysburg had defeated Northview earlier this season. The two NLL teams also had played to a tie.
“Going into overtime we knew what we had to do,” Latchem said. “In our minds we knew we would come out on top.”
Northview coach Ryan Creech thought Perrysburg played better defense in the second half.
“They were marking better on defense,” Creech said. “We just didn't convert our chances in the second half and they converted in overtime.”
Both teams came out on the offensive in the first half, erupting for an uncharacteristic six goals before intermission.
Northview's Jason Doyle put the Wildcats ahead 1-0 when he slipped a shot by Latchem at 38:58. The lead held up for just over 13 minutes before Wagner tied the score at 1.
Jon Haynes put the Wildcats ahead 2-1 with a header that bounced by Latchem and into the net at 16:21. Then Ryan Konz evened the score at 2 when he beat Pete Dzubay to a loose ball and booted it by him for a goal at 15:56.
After playing for another 10 minutes without either team scoring, Wagner put the Yellow Jackets ahead 3-2.
Perrysburg would remain ahead by a goal until Doyle tied the score off an in-bounds play with a goal coming with four-tenths of a second remaining in the first half.
Sophomore Lindsey Meredieth scored all three goals as Northview defeated Anthony Wayne 3-1 in overtime at Central Catholic for a girls Division I district championship.
Rachel Beakas scored the Generals' goal.
The Wildcats (16-0-3) repeat as district champs and move on to face Westlake at 7 p.m. Wednesday in a regional semifinal at Strongsville.
VAN BUREN - Craig Choka scored both of Maumee Valley's goals in the Hawks' 2-0 blanking of Van Buren (15-2-2) in a boys Division III final.
Maumee Valley (13-4-2) will play in the Elida regional Tuesday at 7 p.m.
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